Six Questions to Ask When Hiring an HVAC Contractor

Severe weather can happen wherever, so most homeowners are no strangers to storm damage. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and hail can affect many portions of your property, including the landscape, roof, siding and windows. 

High winds and flooding are also major concerns for outdoor heating and cooling equipment. In extreme weather, equipment may be forced out of position, often falling over and damaging electrical systems and refrigerant lines. Even when systems stay upright, they will sometimes accumulate mud and other materials, which must be removed before they can operate correctly. 

For your safety when examining your storm-damaged home, don’t turn on the HVAC system until it has gotten the all-clear from a heating and cooling contractor. The trick is knowing who to hire for the job. After all, any random person with a truck can claim they’re an HVAC technician. An unqualified person tampering with your heating and cooling could make matters worse, not to mention overcharge you and then disappear without a trace. 

Incidents like these may escalate during storm cleanup. To avoid being taken advantage of, learn the top six questions to ask when hiring a heating and cooling contractor. 

1. Are you licensed, insured and certified? 

The majority of states have licensing and insurance requirements for HVAC contractors. This delivers peace of mind that whoever works on your system has the appropriate training and coverage in case an accident takes place. Additional ACE certification only further supports a contractor’s ability to ensure high-quality service. 

2. What can you tell me about your experience and reputation? 

While length of service alone doesn’t guarantee a contractor will do a good job, it shows that they are proficient enough to stay in business for the long term. If you are able to, look up the company’s name online to verify that they’re telling the truth about their experience. 

While you’re at it, research the contractors you’re considering on Google and other third-party review websites. Testimonials from past customers present a good idea of what to expect. 

For even more specific answers, check with potential contractors for the contact info of past customers. As you contact these references and check online reviews, seek answers to the following questions: 

  • Did the contractor complete the job on time? 
  • Did the contractor leave the customer feeling satisfied? 
  • Was the total bill the same amount as the up-front estimate? 
  • Did a live person always answer calls, or did an answering machine pick up? 

3. Are your technicians background-checked and drug-tested? 

You want assurance that the HVAC staff who complete the work are clean, dependable and safe to have around your family. For total peace of mind, ask the contractor if background checks and drug tests are mandated before adding new hires to the team. 

4. Can you assess the entire home heating and cooling system? 

If the storm damage is severe enough to wipe out your HVAC system, you may need a new one. However, it isn’t enough to simply swap out one furnace and air conditioner for another. After all, an HVAC system is only as good as the ductwork it’s attached to. So if you’re looking at HVAC replacement after a storm, ask potential contractors these questions: 

  • Do you complete heat loss/gain evaluations? 
  • Do you assess insulation levels and air leaks? 
  • Do you check the duct system to ensure proper sizing and configuration? 

5. Can I get an estimate in writing? 

A written, itemized estimate is crucial when comparing bids from multiple HVAC contractors. Look for a company that offers free estimates and transparent, direct pricing. Also, be sure to ask whether the company charges per hour or by the job so you know what you’re paying for. Just remember that the lowest bid isn’t necessarily the best deal, namely if it’s far lower than the others. Odds are the contractor will either cut corners to make the price doable or sneak in hidden fees at the end. 

6. Do you have any special offers? 

Getting your HVAC system back up and running after a severe storm isn’t always low cost. That’s why it’s worthwhile to ask about any savings you may qualify for when repairing or replacing your equipment. Also, find out what financing and leasing options the contractor offers as an easier way to cover unexpected HVAC services following a storm. 

Choose BW/Cook Service Experts 

Do you need a reputable contractor to fix your HVAC system after a natural disaster? You can’t go wrong with BW/Cook Service Experts. We are a national company with hometown heart, a combination that helps us stay ahead of the competition. If you prioritize affordable prices, long-lasting results and total satisfaction, we can meet your needs to a tee. Get in touch with your local BW/Cook Service Experts office for help inspecting and repairing your HVAC system. 

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